We All Sleep Alone

(Author’s Note: If you’re interested in reading the previous five stories of Mayumi, please use the tag “Mayumi” to find her stories.)

Mayumi’s Story (part VI)
(aka “We All Sleep Alone”)
by Miles H. Rost

The months passed by, and things finally stabilized for Mayumi Shiomi. After dealing with more ups and downs at her job, things finally were able to get to some semblance of “normal”. She had just a little over 4 months left on her contract, and could not wait to leave.

The intervening months since her letter to her dad had not been too kind. She went through many relationships and one night stands, feeling the loneliness and emptiness in her heart that she was left with for such a long time. She finally got in with a counselor to talk about it, to come clean and to rebuild the shattered pieces of her heart and deal with the remnants of the old relationship that so wrecked her personal life.

As she sat in her apartment, looking out at the Sydney landscape, she couldn’t help but think about how she got where she was. She thought about the God she served, and how she was being led even in her weaknesses.

“Y’know, God. Ah’ve been such a fool,” she said, out loud, “I’ve spent so much time grousing about my job, not doing what I’m  supposed to do. Ah know I need to do better, I just don’t know why I’m so weak.”

She sighed, as she looked at the cloudy skies that unfolded over the city like a scroll. It was a day that matched her feelings, and as she got up to do a small bit of cleaning, she gave a small sigh and a weak smile.

“Sooner or later, Lord, we all sleep alone. Ahm glad it’s happening now, instead of when I’m an old maid.”

Looking at the calendar, she had the date circled. Just over 4 months, and she could finish her contract and get out. She already had prospects at a new job, and a new life in Melbourne. But, she wouldn’t be able to start for at least a month after due to non-compete clauses. She knew that this would be a perfect time to find out about places to live there.

She had life to look forward to. But she had to survive the next months. That would be a challenge, as long as she was dealing with all the anxiety issues and the health problems that came with it. Worry, anxiety, and all sorts of other things pulled at Mayumi’s neck like a gremlin on an airplane. It was not something she enjoyed, and her sleep sometimes suffered because of it.

She would pray for at least one vacation in between, just to make things go faster.

She grabbed her pillow, and proceeded to her bedroom to take a nap. Why not let time pass her by with something she wanted to do.

Sleeping was one way to get away from the everyday. And she took to it like a champion.

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The View From Your Window

(Author’s Note: If you’re interested in reading the previous four stories of Mayumi, please use the tag “Mayumi” to find her stories.)

Mayumi’s Story (Part V)
“The View From Your Window”
by Miles Rost

3 months at her new job, and she hated it. With a passion.

Contracted for a year, she had to ride out the entire ride while she dealt with all the pressures of whining customers, a boss who was indifferent most times, and unable to communicate properly at the monthly performance meetings. The customers were right, she knew, and she did the best she could to take care of them. However, without the communicative support of her boss, she was not going to be happy until she was out of there.

Mayumi survived the rest of the week, though panicking that she could be let go from her contract at any time. This made her stressed out more than usual, as she was counting on the 1-year longevity bonus to help her pay down debt. It was daunting, as well, as her friend at the station moved onto greener pastures. She was the only one left, and had no other friends at work to talk to.

A 4 day vacation was in the offing, and she was happy to get the time off. A substitute for the show was taking over and she was going to have a few days to relax and rest.

Until day 2. When the pains in her belly started.

Sidelined in her apartment, with not much food to eat as she couldn’t go out to get groceries, she sat in her bedroom. At her desk, she had a piece of paper in front of her and a pencil.

“What can ah write? I wanna write but ah have no clue…” she muttered, as she stared intently at the white sheet in front of her. She took a breath and decided to just take a look out her bedroom window. It was there, and it wasn’t four walls of a dark room, so why not?

She opened the curtains, and looked out. Immediately, she was shocked and surprised.

She looked out the window and saw a beautifully cared-for lawn, freshly cut and beautifully manicured. Close to her was a dark area of ground, with small little green shoots poking up like hairs on a forearm. Lining the fence down the side of the lawn was a series of bushes that reminded her of the lilacs that grew around her family’s home back in Hornsby Shire. She smiled as she saw all of the new beauty that was being created from a space that not even 3 months before was a ramshackle home, which she realized did not look so ramshackle anymore.

The peeling paint of the old house had since gone, and was painted with a fresh coat of brickhouse red. The house’s color fit well with the brick-walled apartments 30 feet from the back door. The trim of the house stood out like the white peppermint of a candy-cane.

Whoever owns that house really wanted to make it noticeable, she thought to herself.

Just as she was about to stand, she noticed the back door open up. She saw a young lady, almost the same age as her, though her appearance was quite shocking to Mayumi. A cherubic face framed by cotton-candy pink hair, with a black t-shirt and black shorts, the young collegian looked to be very punk-like, despite the lack of make-up. She was smiling, as she walked down to the earthen part of the lawn.

She put on a pair of gloves, and picked up a water hose that was nearby. She squeezed the green snake-like hose and a stream of water misted out over the sprouting earth. She laughed as she continued to spray the area, gleefully enjoying her time watering the garden.

As Mayumi watched the young lady, she had thoughts of her home and her dad, an ardent greenthumb. She loved watching him while he worked his hands in the garden, and picking berries from the vines that ran across one part of her family’s property.

She closed the semi-transparent curtains in her room, as she turned to write things from her own heart onto the paper.

Dear Dad,…

Trying to Stop Failure (aka “Mourning Dove”)

Trying to Stop Failure
(aka “Mourning Dove”)
By Miles Rost

Part 4 of Mayumi’s story

Months had passed by since the last time Mayumi Shiomi had left her job at Shine FM and went to a competitor. She waited a month, and in that time had great development in her personal life. With one exception…

The men that she had in her life sucked.

She had gone for a good two to three months without even dealing with such an issue, and she was getting better at staying away from situations, but the last guy she met just took her by surprise and she fell, very hard, in love. And got hurt in the interim.

She just broke up with another guy who wanted to use her and abuse her. After the night of their last date, she cried herself to sleep asking for things to finally just stop. That she didn’t want a relationship anymore, and that she needed some “me-time”.

She woke up the next morning, and looked at herself in the mirror. The short sandy brown hair that she used to have had grown a little longer in the months preceding. It was now down to her shoulders, but constantly tied up in a ponytail. She looked a slight bit older than her age, but she didn’t think much of it.

“Ah feel like crap right now,” she muttered to her reflection, “I have no clue what to do, how to deal with all these problems with men. Why…why do I attract that type of man?”

She changed out of her pajamas and put herself under the hot water of a long shower. She thought about where things went wrong, and where in her past was the catalyst for the change she had to deal with constantly. She turned on the waterproof radio that hung in the shower, and tuned it to her new station, Power FM 87. She knew that her show would be on in about 3 hours, and that before that was a great smooth jazz show by her newest friend, Mitzi.

“…and later this week, Larry Carlton will be in Melbourne, playing a 5 date set at Bennets Lane. Here’s a great one from him, going back a few years. This is Mourning Dove, on the Smooth Move show, here on Power FM!”

The start of the music shot into Mayumi’s heart like a needle into a vein. The soft keyboard and the beginning strains of the artist’s guitar nailed the feelings she felt at that time. She was mourning. Mourning her own problems with men, with falling a step behind again, and feeling lower than normal. She just stood under the steady and hard stream of water, as she started drifting into memories.

As the saxophone and guitars harmonized and carried her away, she looked back to the age of 10. She remembered seeing her own father, a man who she barely ever saw in later years. She saw the memory she had of him, smacking her mom around. She remembered him grabbing her mom’s arm and muscling her towards the bedroom. She remembered hearing the sounds, and running to her hiding place in the far part of the basement.

“Is this what ah’m running from?” she asked her 10 year old self, in her mind, “Is this why ah get the men I do?”

Her 10 year old memory looked back at her, saying nothing but showing her a glimpse of what may have happened to give her the perpetual bad luck with men.

She let the music carry her to another part of her mind, the water relaxing her to the point where she could do much more with her soul, mind, and body.

“Lord, ah think we know why things are the way they are,” she said, in a prayerful tone, “Ah’m dealing with the ghosts of the past, and it’s time that we work together on this. Ah wanna be free, and ah know you love me enough to want me to be free. Ah can’t do this alone, and ah have to give it up to you everyday.”

The song’s warm yet sad tones bled across her mind, the prayers she was sending infused with the music’s energy. She had never prayed as hard as she did at that moment, with hot water hitting her tired and stressed out shoulders.

“Father, help me address this problem. The image of my father, ah need to move on from it. Father, help me as ah do what I need to do.”

She kept praying, the water pouring over her hair like a waterfall. She didn’t know what effect her prayer would be, but she realized that she would eventually need to let everything go in a way.

As the song ended and a new smooth jazz song came on, she started her ritual of cleaning, getting ready for work. She felt lighter, but she didn’t know what would happen next.

 

Stepping On Shadows

(For those who are interested in Part 1 and Part 2, click the links.)

Stepping on Shadows
(aka Mayumi’s Story, Part III)
by Miles Rost

A business card with a number written on the back.

Mayumi found it on her counter, and she never noticed it before. She looked at it and twirled the card and the number around in her mind, thinking of where it may have come from.

In the intervening week between her emotional breakdown and the current time, she was able to get her mind back in order and was focused on moving on. She was pleased, but she knew that there was a lot of work to be repaired within her soul, her psyche. She refocused her efforts on developing her life away from the addiction to her ex. She felt as though things were finally starting to get level.

Saturday morning came quickly for her. More than a week after dealing with all those feelings, she felt like she was on solid ground. Which meant only one thing: Time to clean the house. She washed the dishes, cleaned the living room, and started cleaning off the stand-alone counter where she would have her mail and her dinner.

The card dropped from a stack of mail. Hidden among the junk mail was a business card for a garage that she used to take her vehicle when she was dating the idiot. She looked at the back of it and saw a number.

I wonder where this came from? I don’t remember asking for a card from the garage the last time, she thought to herself.

For a long time, she just sat at the bar and twirled the piece of paper over and over in her hand, debating about whether she should call the number and see what was at the other end, or whether she shouldn’t push it. The battle raged inside her head for a while, but eventually, her curiosity got the best of her logic, and she grabbed the house phone. She dialed the number on the card, and just waited nervously. After about three rings, the phone picked up.

“Hello? Who’s this?”

The voice was unmistakable. The annoyance found in the voice was immediately recognizeable.

She had mistakenly called the idiot in Western Australia.

She immediately hung up the phone and started to panic.

“I can’t believe it…WHAT the hell just happened?!?!” she shouted into the air.

She stood up and started to pace, figuring out how she was able to contact the idiot. She had been trying to get rid of him, and now all of a sudden, he was back…even for a moment.

Mayumi unplugged the phone from the wall socket, then walked over to the couch in the living room. She sat down, feeling incredibly nauseated by what just happened. She felt disturbed by it in a way she never felt before, and it was turning her in knots.

She laid down on the couch, the right sleeve of her sweatshirt covering her forehead, absorbing the sweat and the feelings of nausea rising off her head. In the few minutes that it took for her to blank her mind and do some cleaning in her head, she turned her head and looked next to her.

“Lord, ah don’t know what to do. I wanted to keep it away, but ah didn’t throw the card away. I kept it, and explored it.”

She looked back up at her ceiling, and shook her head. She asked for forgiveness in her mind, trying to ease the feeling of self-betrayal in her. As the minutes turned into hours, she felt her gut slowly become calm and her spirit start to rest. She felt a wave of peace come over her, as one thought crossed her mind.

It’s not the end, and not a start over. It’s a mere stumbling block, and you’ve gone past it. Keep running.

As her eyes slowly closed, taking Mayumi into dreamland, she realized that even with this problem, she would be able to still continue and survive. She could bank on that.

Changing Tides

Changing Tides
(aka Mayumi’s Story, Part II)
by Miles Rost

The old pangs were just like torture.

The old desires, the old needs, all of them were trying to drop Mayumi in her tracks. And damn if she was going to let it.

It had been nearly three weeks since her ex-boyfriend was sent packing across the Outback on his motorcycle, with her hoping he’d never return. She examined herself fully to see how she was, and for the first couple of weeks, it seemed to be alright. She was getting by on her work at the radio station, spending lots of time working radio traffic during the week and hitting up the 7-10 shift at Shine FM on the weekends. With one day off on Mondays, it was a nice job to have, especially dealing with all the stuff she had to deal with.

What she didn’t expect was those old pangs coming back. The feelings that she had still stuck around, the residual mess that was left to be cleaned up.

The pangs were slow to creep up on her. Just a little reminder of the way her boyfriend used to hold her, at a time when she was vulnerable; or a little reminder of the gentle kiss that he’d give her while they watched wrestling on TV. Small things like these kept popping into her mind as the days progressed.

It was a Friday afternoon, and as she got home, that she felt the old feeling of loneliness and desire pop back into her life. The indicators were there before, however.

——

12:45PM, Friday

The papers were all stacked up on her desk. Inputs for commercials and liners were ready to be processed. She picked up one of the requests and started to write on the page. As the pen ran across the sheet of wood pulp, her knuckle started to ache. It was a small ache at first. As she processed each request, the ache got worse and her emotions started to run a bit higher. After a half an hour, she sat back and rubbed her hands across her face, ending with one going through her sandy-gray hair.

“Hey, Mayumi. You okay?”

Mayumi looked at her deskmate, Kelsey. A fresh-faced Sydney graduate, buxom and smart, Kelsey seemed to have a second sense to when problems were about to start.

“Yeah, Kel. Ah just have a lot on m’plate. That’s all.”

Kelsey looked at her through strands of her dark chocolate brown hair, and squinted.

“I don’t believe that for a second. In a half an hour, you can get through a stack like that on your desk. You’ve only gotten through half. What’s going on?”

Mayumi sighed, as she continued to process the paperwork.

“Ah’m just still dealing with my ex.”

“I see. Still haven’t been able to let him go, have ya?”

“Ah let him go. It’s just hard to let the memories fade, y’know.”

Kelsey pursed her lips, as she thought carefully. The brunette scratched her hair with a pencil, while she thought.

“It was two weeks ago, right? And how long were you together.”

“Yeah. And we were “together” for over 8 years. High school sweethearts and all that junk.”

“Ow,” Kelsey grimaced, a slight twinge of pain going through her face.

Mayumi sighed and looked at her friend.

“What’s bad is that ah know when my emotions are overwhelming me. The aching in my knuckle tells me.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, ever since ah had this depressive episode back in ’06. Whenever ah have too much emotion, and ah’m about ready to cry or needing to release, it screams at me.”

“Maybe you should take the rest of the day off. I mean, you haven’t taken a day in the year I’ve been here, and you are probably going through some major league withdrawal if it was that bad.”

Mayumi thought about it for a few moments, and looked at her paperwork. She did get part of it done already, but she didn’t want to leave until she finished her work.

Kelsey looked at her again, and sighing audibly, she put her hands out. She told her, without words, ‘Give them to me. You need rest’.

After a few moments of writing the last page on her desk, she gave the stack of papers to her sympathetic comrade and registered her sick leave request with the manager. Getting it approved. she popped into her vehicle and raced home.

—-

She was already into the apartment when she dropped her keys on the floor. She didn’t even notice them, as she stumbled into her ornately decorated bedroom. Falling upon the bed, she grabbed a full length pillow and hugged it tightly. Tears started to flow down her face, dropping it’s salty emotion onto the sleeve of her light silk blouse. She held onto the pillow for dear life, as her mind raced through the emotions that were bombarding her from all direction.

She cried as she recounted the feeling of his touch on her skin, the longing of wanting that touch on her body. The warmth of his hands on each of her shoulders was still firm in her mind.

Mayumi’s mind was in agony as she went through all sorts of memories. She didn’t know what to do with all of them, with all the extra energy that she had without directing so much of it toward her idiot ex. The “good memories” were the ones that caused her the grief she was experiencing, though at times the bad memories came surging upward, forcing a scream into her pillow as she recounted the numerous numbers of abusive barbs.

You’re not worth the time, Yumi.

That was the one that hurt the most for her. It was one of the last things that the idiot said to her the night before he left for parts unknown. 8 long years, and she had her time wasted.

She screamed out curses at his name, at the memories as the tears poured down her face like a mini-waterfall. Her blouse was becoming soaked with her tears, just like the pillow she held onto.

All of the desire that she had, the lust of her heart, the pain and memories, flowed out of her. The pain in her finger throbbed at all the emotion coming from her.

The culmination of the three weeks of stress and all the old feelings had burst forth from it’s prison. As she sank into what would be called a deep sleep, in the last vestige of her consciousness, she saw a vision of an old tree chopped into firewood, and a hole filled with dirt.

Finally, she was facing all those emotions head on. And the healing would begin in earnest.

The Beginning of Something New (aka “Supernova”)

The Beginning of Something New
(aka
Supernova)
By Miles Rost

New feelings were always so hard to understand.

Coming out of a mentally abusive relationship was not one of the plans that Mayumi Shiomi had in mind for the weekend. She hoped to have done that earlier in the week, so she could heal over the weekend and not have to deal with the crying she would ultimately do at work.

The 22-year old was finally able to say goodbye to the abuse she took. Seeing her old boyfriend leave on his motorcycle for the other side of Australia was a relief for her. Now that the hound was away, “The Fox” was likely ready to play.

She looked at herself in the mirror quickly, but after a few moments looking away from the mirror, she decided to take an inventory.

Ah need to do this, she thought, Since the old baka won’t be back in West Penfield, Ah have to see what’s left.

The large bathroom allowed her the comfort of being able to walk around and not worry about being in an enclosed space. She made sure of that when she bought the new townhouse. With all the room , she would be able to get a good view of what she looked like now.

The young woman looked at herself in the full length mirror, hung delicately on the wall close to the shower. She ran her hand through the short, incredibly light brown hair that she wore. It was a good look on her, seeing as she kept it since the middle of high school. It also helped her when she had to deal with drinking a bit much, as having too much hair would mean vomit smell constantly.

She gazed at her reflection, the face that people called a “Kitsune” face. She didn’t care much for her nickname of “The Fox”, but she was willing to live with it as it did adequately describe her normal, everyday look. At least, what the look used to be before she was involved with the baka. She did have beautifully colored hazel eyes, but they rarely were seen as she had a constant squint to her eyes. It was part of “The Fox” charm that people knew.

She analyzed the rest of her visage, noting that her body still had the curves that she inherited from her Australian mother’s side of the family. She was definitely a beauty, and she knew it. She knew that guys would look at her and immediately fall at her feet, even knowing that her reputation kept pointing to the phrase “Dangerous Curves Ahead”. She did a slight wiggle, and smiled.

Yep, ah still got it!

She drew a breath, as she pulled a chair to her. As she sat down, she looked in the mirror, directly into her own eyes.

The hardest part of her analysis was about to come.

She was fine on the outside, but she needed to take an inventory of her inside. She needed to look at her mind, her spirit, and the wholeness of her being on the inside of the beautiful shell.

“Alright, Mayumi, how’re ya doing?”

She looked at herself as she waited for her spirit to answer, while her heart blazed a thousand words a second describing how good it was that she was free of the bastard that hurt her. She snickered that her heart would be the first one to send off the signals of relief. Her spirit would be the one that she would need to focus on, as her relationship had gone on for very long time.

“Are ya ready to get movin’ on with life?”

Somewhere within her spirit, a peace that was indescribable finally appeared to her. It was like it was saying, “You will be healed, be free.”

Her mind, however, was the one that raced through a million possibilities about why things would go wrong. Her mind, the one part of her being that just would never shut up. It was where the biggest attack on her would come from, and she knew this was a possibility.

She looked at herself in the mirror again, leaning forward in the chair to get a closer look at her face. She knew she didn’t need the baka, but everytime she tried to quit him, she’d always go looking for him again. She never realized that a lot of her problems surrounding him were less about her and more about a part of her past that had since been rectified. She realized this, and said the only thing that she could.

“Lord, ah think it’s time for me to get livin’. Ah need your help to get through this.”

It was the best prayer she could think of, seeing as she was now able to be restored to a condition that would be perfect for her.

She was about to continue analyzing herself when she heard a loud buzzing sound. She forgot about her phone, and the alarm that was set for 5PM. She had two hours to get over to Shine FM, a relatively new radio station broadcasting to the suburbs of Sydney, including West Penfield. The job she held, for such a long time, was one of the saving graces that helped her in the dealings with her baka boyfriend.

“Time for this girl to get herself on the air,” she said to the mirror, putting on a smile that would show that “The Fox” was back on the stalk.

Today was the first day of her new life, a new air of freedom. She would never go back to that baka again, and she would most certainly spend a lot more time on the things that she loved.

“Lookout, world. Ahm back!” She said, giving her reflection a wink.